Making a Subject Access Request (SAR)

​​​​​​​​​​​The Data Protection Act 2018 (the Act) is designed to protect the rights of individuals when organisations process information about them. The Act is concerned with all personal data, whether processed on computer, closed-circuit television, manual filing records, microfiche or any other means, and sets out rules relating to the collection, processing and disclosure of personal data.

The Act allows you to find out what information is held about you on a computer, and some paper records. This is known as a 'right of Subject Access'.

What is personal data?

  • Personal data is any information that relates to an individual. That individual must be identified or identifiable either directly or indirectly from one or more identifiers or from factors specific to the individual. 
  • Special categories of personal data – these categories of data merit extra protection under the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018) because they are more sensitive in nature and therefore require a higher level of protection. Special categories of personal data can include data about an individual's ethnic origin, political opinion, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data (where this is used for identification purposes), health data, sex life or sexual orientation.

The GDPR sets down seven Data Protection Principles which underpin and safeguard how personal data should be processed. In addition, the GDPR has introduced a number of specific rights for individuals (although some of these are subject to certain limitations). For further information about how the data protection principles or the rights available under GDPR may apply to you, please see the Information Commissioner's Office website

If you wish to know what information (if any) the College holds about you, you can make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 2018 using this form: 'Subject Access Request Form'. The frequently asked questions below have been collated to help you complete this process. You should submit your request to the Data Protection Officer (DPO) at the College via post or email.  If you have further questions, please email the DPO at: Data. who will be happy to assist you.

How much does it cost?

In most cases subject access request will be free of charge.

However, where a request is manifestly unfounded or excessive a charge of a reasonable fee for the administrative costs of complying with the request may be made.

How long will it take?

​By law we must act on your subject access request without undue delay and at the latest within one month of receipt.

The time limit will be calculated from the day after we receive the request (whether the day after is a working day or not) until the corresponding calendar date in the next month.

How can I access my data held on National databases e.g Police National Database (PND) National DNA database, Police National Computer (PNC), Ident1 ?

Your local force can help you on this request. Requests to access any records about you that may be held on the Police National Computer should be directed to the ACPO Criminal Record Office.

What do I do with my completed form?

You can send your completed form to:

Data Protection Officer,
College of Policing,
Central House
Beckwith Knowle
Otley Road

Or email it to us at

Can I use subject access to obtain someone else's record?

No, the purpose of the right to access personal data under GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 is a right of the data subject only.

In some circumstances personal data regarding individuals may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, the application of this is limited. For further advice please refer to the Information Commissioner's Office guidance on the application of s40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (personal data).

How can I prove my identity?

We require proof of ID and proof of address (one of which must show your current address).

Proof of ID - any one from the following list:

  • Passport
  • Driver's licence
  • Government-issue photo identification
  • National Insurance card
  • NHS card
  • Other identity card, e.g. union membership
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Credit or bank card
  • Birth certificate


Proof of residence - any one from the following list:

  • Rent card/book
  • Benefit book
  • Council Tax bill
  • Utility bill within the last three months
  • Credit or bank card statement within the last three months
  • Letter from a Government department

Please send photocopies, scans or clear photographs of your documents. Please assume that the originals will not be required unless we tell you otherwise. ​

Who processes my application?

A member of the Legal Services team will process your request under the direction of the College Data Protection Officer. The Legal Services team will contact personnel or departments listed within your request to ascertain whether any information is held about you and, if so, will obtain that information for processing in line with your request.

Please note that the College of Policing are entitled to ask for information that we reasonably need to find the personal data covered by the request. We will not be able to comply with your subject access request until we have received sufficient information with which to process your request.

How do I get my reply sent to an address, which is different to my ‘Home Address’ on the application form?

This can be arranged, providing you enclose a letter of authority signed by yourself, detailing where you want the reply sent and including relevant dates, if appropriate.

Can someone request a Subject Access disclosure on my behalf?

Yes, if you provide written and signed authorisation. This is known as a 'third party authority'

Can I request more than one copy of my disclosure document?

​You may request additional copies of the disclosure bundle. A charge of a reasonable fee may be requested for any further copies. This fee is based on the administrative costs to us of providing you with subsequent copies.

The information on my Subject Access disclosure is incorrect – who should I contact?

Great care is taken to ensure that a thorough search for information is conducted before we issue a response to an individual. If you feel that the information provided is inaccurate in any way, you can contact us and we will work with you to reach a resolution. All data accuracy enquiries are handled by the Data Protection Officer who can be contacted via the email or postal address above.

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